Understanding Workers’ Compensation Claims: Exploring Section 20 and Section 22
March 10, 2023
In New Jersey, Section 20 and Section 22 refer to specific sections of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act. Section 20 of the Act provides for the payment of temporary disability benefits to workers who are temporarily unable to work due to a work-related injury or illness. These benefits are typically paid until the worker can return to work or until a doctor determines that the worker has reached maximum medical improvement and can no longer recover from the injury.
Section 22 of the Act provides for the payment of permanent disability benefits to workers who have suffered a permanent impairment due to a work-related injury or illness. Permanent disability benefits are intended to compensate the worker for the loss of earning capacity resulting from the permanent impairment. The amount of the benefits is determined based on the severity of the impairment, the worker’s average weekly wage, and the number of dependents the worker has.
Both Section 20 and Section 22 benefits are provided through the New Jersey workers’ compensation system, which is a no-fault system. This means that the worker does not need to prove that the employer was at fault for the injury or illness to receive benefits. However, the worker must be able to prove that the injury or illness arose from employment.
What Qualifies as A Temporary Disability Under Section 20
In New Jersey, a temporary disability is defined as an injury or illness that temporarily prevents a worker from performing their job duties. Under Section 20 of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act, an employee may be eligible for temporary disability benefits if they meet the following criteria:
The injury or illness was sustained while on the job or during employment.
The employee is unable to work temporarily due to an injury or illness.
The employee has received medical treatment for the injury or illness.
Employees who meet these criteria may be eligible for temporary disability benefits under Section 20. The benefits are intended to provide financial support to workers who cannot work temporarily due to a work-related injury or illness. The benefits are typically two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage, up to a maximum amount set by the state. Employees must report the injury or illness to their employer as soon as possible to be eligible for temporary disability benefits under Section 20. Employees who do not report the injury or illness promptly may be disqualified from receiving benefits.
If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible for temporary disability benefits under Section 20, you may want to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. They can help you understand your rights and the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act requirements and can assist you in making a claim for benefits if you are eligible.
What Is Considered a Permanent Impairment Under Section 22?
Under Section 22 of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act, a permanent impairment is defined as a lasting consequence of a work-related injury or illness that results in a loss of earning capacity. A permanent impairment may include a physical or mental disability that affects the worker’s ability to perform their job duties.
Examples of conditions that may be considered a permanent impairment under Section 22 include:
Loss of limb or body function
Scarring or disfigurement
Chronic pain or limitation of motion
Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, resulting from a work-related injury or illness
To be considered a permanent impairment under Section 22, the condition must be a lasting consequence of the injury or illness and result in a loss of earning capacity. The degree of permanent impairment is evaluated by a doctor and is used to determine the number of permanent disability benefits that may be payable.
Employers Disputing Your Section 20 and 22 Claim
When an employer disputes a worker’s claim for benefits under Section 20 or Section 22 of the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act, the dispute can be resolved through the workers’ compensation administrative process. This process typically involves a hearing before a Workers’ Compensation Judge, who hears evidence and testimony from both the employee and the employer. After the hearing, the Workers’ Compensation Judge makes a determination on whether the employee is entitled to benefits under Section 20 or Section 22. If either the employee or the employer disagrees with the determination, they have the right to appeal to the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court.
If you disagree with the decision made by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, you have the right to challenge it through the workers’ compensation administrative process in New Jersey. This process generally involves requesting a hearing before a Workers’ Compensation Judge, who will listen to evidence and testimony from you and the insurance carrier. After the hearing, the Workers’ Compensation Judge will decide on your eligibility for benefits. If you are unsatisfied with the determination, you may appeal to the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court. To ensure that your rights are protected, it is recommended that you seek the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to guide you through the administrative process, including the hearing and any appeals.
Which Settlement Is Best for Me?
Determining the best settlement for you in a workers’ compensation case depends on several factors, including the nature and extent of your injury or illness, your current and future medical needs, your lost wages and earning capacity, and any permanent impairment or disability.
Here are some steps you can take to determine the best settlement for you:
Review your medical records
Your medical records will provide important information about your injury or illness, including the extent of your injury, any permanent impairment or disability, and your current and future medical needs.
Consider your current and future financial needs
You’ll need to consider your current financial situation and future financial needs, such as lost wages, medical expenses, and any costs associated with permanent impairment or disability.
Get a second opinion
If you’re unsure about the nature and extent of your injury or illness, it may be helpful to get a second opinion from another medical professional.
Seek legal advice
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand your rights and the value of your case and can help you negotiate a settlement that meets your needs and protects your interests.
Ultimately, the best settlement for you will depend on your specific circumstances and needs. It’s important to consider all of the factors and to seek the guidance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before making any decisions about settling your case.
Contact Gold, Albanese & Barletti, LLC
Whether you’ve been injured at work, in an automobile accident, or due to medical malpractice – you deserve justice and fair compensation for your injuries. Since 1997, the personal injury attorneys of Gold, Albanese & Barletti have established a legacy of justice for our clients. We will work tirelessly on your behalf to get maximum compensation for your injuries. There are no upfront legal fees and we don’t get paid unless you win your case.
Our firm is licensed and admitted to municipal, state, federal and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Since 1997, we have helped thousands of clients and established a track record of success across a wide array of legal practice areas.